Golfer Pacific

Are golf clubs too strict or too lenient when it comes to their dress code?

Posted in Australian Golf,Golf,Golf Dress Code,Golfer Pacific by golferpacific on May 27, 2009


By Michael Court 

AM I just being an old fuddy duddy? Am I single-handedly helping drive people away from the game?

Maybe I am. But if I’ve learned, why can’t others?

I took a telephone call from a concerned reader the other day and his thoughts gave me a bit of a wake-up call.

He said that unless we drastically altered the dress rules at some of our golf clubs then we’d be driving people away from the game – and they would just go play some other sport instead.

Maybe he’s right.

Certainly many of our private clubs have strictly adhered to dress rules and calmly relay their message ‘those socks are not allowed on this course’ to many players before they get the chance to tee off.

I played at one private clubs a few months ago and before the corporate day began the secretary-manager welcomed everyone to the club and told them that ankle socks and socks with any logo other than this golf club’s logo were simply not permitted on the course.

And if they played in them they would be politely asked to leave the course.

Of course there was a rush to the pro shop as everyone who didn’t want to miss a game queued up to buy a pair of the club socks.

Even the host of the day’s activities, who would – or should – have been briefed before the day on the dress rules, was forced to fork out the $15 for a new pair of socks.

He didn’t complain though, and commented that it was actually a marvellous revenue maker for the club.

And true to his word, the sec-manager did appear on the course to ensure that everyone had adhered to his ‘order’.

Fair enough – it’s a private club – and they can do what they like.

But this caller told me his club was making members stick to their dress rules but was dropping their standard when it came to corporate days and what corporate players were being allowed to get away with – jeans, sneakers, board shorts, you name it – had been spotted at different times on these self-confessed part-timers playing golf.

That may be fair enough too – the corporate dollars are important and keep many clubs afloat.

Still you cannot have one rule for one and another for visitors now, can you?

I had a game at a country course on the north coast during the school holidays and when we came up behind an eight-ball of rugby league players, they were wearing boat shoes, footy shorts, singlets and one player even stripped off his singlet and jumped into a pond after hitting his ball in there.

I suppose he only did it for a stir – but you’ve gotta love that footy culture. And they were drinking beers in the hot sun.

And besides, they were at a sea-side country at a holiday resort town. So what can you expect?

It’s the middle-of-the-road clubs that appear to have the identity crisis. The clubs who would love to be able to afford to go private and bar public players from their links – but they cannot afford to.

I took my nephew for a game at the country course I just mentioned and thanks to his own Sydney club educating him – at the age of 14 – I was proud to say he looked like a golfer when he arrived on the first tee.

And subsequently he played like one too.

If learning the game of golf means learning how to dress as well, maybe it’s not such a bad thing to police the dress regulations that most clubs choose to ignore.

It’s all part of the education process … and everyone has to draw the line somewhere.

  • Are golf clubs too strict or too lenient when it comes to their dress code? Tell us your thoughts by clicking on the comments link below.

Horsham visit a no-brainer for Tiger

Posted in Australian Golf,Golf,Tiger Woods by golferpacific on April 29, 2009
Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

THE Brumby government in Victoria will no doubt exercise all its political muscle to ensure the world’s best golfer, Tiger Woods, visits Horsham Golf Club when he comes to Melbourne to play in the Australian Masters later this year.

Whether it will be enough to get Woods to the regional club during his hectic schedule remains to be seen.

Woods’ management group, the head office of IMG in the US, will be pulling all the strings while Tiger is in Australia.

The Australian IMG office is simply processing requests for Tiger’s time and forwarding them to America.

It’s doubtful Tiger will feel like getting on a light plane and flying to north-west Victoria to see the progress that has been made at the club which lost its clubhouse and course in Victoria’s February 7 Black Saturday bushfires which claimed 173 lives across the state.

I have been assured by IMG’s Melbourne boss, David Rollo, the request will certainly be put forward.

Given the Victorian Government is picking up half the $4.5 million tab to get Woods to play at Kingston Heath, it should have some say in where the World No.1 goes and what he does in his time away from the golf course.

But I suspect it won’t. Woods already has shown some generosity by sending an autographed flag from one of the holes where he won his US Open last year to Horsham.

The club intends to auction it and use the money raised to help refurbish the clubhouse.

But what a fillip it would be to the morale in the area ravaged by drought for more than a decade before the fires struck, if the great man took the time and trouble to visit personally.

I commend The Member for Lowan, former AFL Essendon footballer Hugh Delahunty, for putting pressure on the Brumby Government for Tiger to turn up in Horsham.

The local paper, The Wimmera Mail-Times, deserves praise, too, for leading the charge by asking Woods to donate the US Open flag and then keeping up the pressure by supporting Delahunty’s call for a personal visit by Woods.

It’s all well and good for the financial boffins to say Tiger’s visit to Melbourne will generate $19 million for the Victorian economy (how they produce these figures for any sporting or cultural event always baffles me).

But a price cannot be put on the social wellbeing and health of a Victorian rural community ravaged by Mother Nature’s two toughest task masters – bushfires and drought.

The saddest thing about it all is that if Tiger’s spin doctors were more concerned about image than the almighty buck, his visit to Horsham would be classified a no-brainer.

  • Tell us yor thoughts below and your comments could get published in the next edition of Golfer Pacific

Should golf be in the Olympics?

Posted in Australian Golf,Golf,Olympics,Tiger Woods by golferpacific on April 23, 2009

olympic_rings1FORGET about handicaps and course rating systems for a moment.

There’s an issue in golf that is slightly more topical and what’s more, is yet to be resolved after 100 years of trying.

It’s always ticked me off why golf isn’t in the Olympic Games?

Not since 1904 in St Louis has golf been part of the greatest sporting festival in the world.

On that occasion, only the United States and Canada took part, which was probably the catalyst for its downfall.

But times have changed and it’s about time world sport crawled out of the ice ages.

My frustration comes not from golf’s Olympic omission, but the logic – or lack of – in the criteria that has allowed other sports to enjoy gold medal glory in its place.

I must stress I use the term ‘other sports’ very loosely.

Can you name the 2004 Olympic gold medallists in handball?

I didn’t think so.

For the record it was Croatia and that’s a couple of minutes of researching that I’ll never get back.

But has the penny finally dropped with the International Olympic Committee?

Is golf set for a triumphant return to the big stage in 2016?

If Tiger Woods and a growing army of the world’s best players get their way, the Masters green jacket could soon play a back seat to the prestigious gold medal on offer every four years.

World No.1 Woods recently wrote a personal plea to accompany a 32-page brochure sent to the IOC, outlining golf’s bid to return to the ranks currently shared by such glamour sports as synchronised swimming, archery and table tennis.

Okay, I like to play table tennis, but what part of the selection criteria has it passed that golf wouldn’t?

I’m wracking my brains too.

Golf is both an individual and team game that requires immense skill and concentration, draws large crowds, has no set time for completion and has a major professional and amateur playing base that would rival any sport around the globe – even soccer.

What’s more, it boasts the world’s most recognizable athlete in Woods, so the marketing takes care of itself.

Michael Phelps is internationally recognised as the world’s best swimmer through his exploits at the Olympics.

It’s only fair that Woods gets a chance to justify his undisputed title in the same capacity, is it not?

And what better way for our own Karrie Webb to return to the top of the tree in women’s golf than by singing the national anthem with the gold medal draped round her neck?

She would hand back her two US Open crowns in a heartbeat for that Kodak moment and why wouldn’t you?

It’s actually a refreshing thought to picture our best golfers playing for the pride of their country instead of a truck-load of cash.

The IOC could open the race for the gold medal to the five best golfers from each competing country and perhaps play a four-round stroke tournament on four different top class courses in the host nation.

Or maybe even hold the gold medal tournament in a match-play format, where individuals, pairs or four-man teams eliminate one another in a knockout competition similar to that of the prestigious President’s Cup.

Whatever the format, golf certainly has the potential to spark the Olympic flame again, and certainly on face value it’s hard to see how it doesn’t warrant serious consideration. Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomerie, Vijay Singh and Sergio Garcia have all forced the issue with their respective IOC members.

Surely weight of numbers has to count for something?

With a decision to be made in October, one feels the next few months will be a case of ‘sink or swim’ for world golf.

Either way, just spare us the synchronised swimming…please!


  • Do you think golf should be included in the Olympics? Tell us yor thoughts below and your comments could get published in the next edition of Golfer Pacific

What clubs do you use?

Posted in Australian Golf,Golf,Uncategorized by golferpacific on April 14, 2009

shutterstock_278835431Nike, TaylorMade, Srixon, Titleist, Callaway, Ping and so on…

Debate will always surround club brands and how they are ‘better’ than their rivals.

Superior shafts, hotter clubfaces, greater balance and ‘a sweeter pick-up’ are just some of the lines club manufacturers will boast when marketing their newest release.

But the most important thing any amateur golfer needs to consider when choosing their clubs is if the sticks simply suit their game.

That means if you can hit the ball to the best of your ability and the club setup (flex shaft, think grip, regular length etc) matches the fundamentals of your swing.

Price, colour and shape should never dictate your purchase…as tempting as it can be.

Personally, the first thing I look for in a new driver or fairway wood is an extra stiff shaft to compensate for my fast swing, which is built on a powerful arc (being six foot, four inches tall).

Anything less than an extra-stiff shaft for me would make hitting the ball straight and long off the tee almost impossible given the clubhead speed I generate.

I try not to get too bogged down in the technological-side of things as most leading clubs these days are built with the best material available, so there’s no need to worry.

Using a demo driver out on the range and assessing the results in terms of distance, feel and control is how I make my final decision before a purchase.

With irons, weight is the most important criteria for me as this will impact my swing and pick-up.

I also like a thick clubface that provides a real ‘punch’ feel when I make contact with the ball.

Again, leading manufacturers build their clubfaces using the best technology available so how each clubface varies from their rivals is irrelevant for me and should be for any amateur golfer.

And with the putter it is simply weight and balance that should dictate which brand you use.

You want to have a nice balanced pendulum-feel when you stroke a putt. Too often amateur golfers go for the higher-priced putters thinking they will provide the best results.

This is never the case. Hell, I’m still using a $50 special from Kmart I bought some 12 years ago as a kid because I am used to the weight and feel.

Choosing your putter, along with any club, should be a case of trial and error.

Try before you buy – this is the only way to ensure complete satisfaction out on the course.

  • Tell us what clubs you use and why?

Slow play needs a quick fix

Posted in Australian Golf,Golf,Golfer Pacific,Slow Play by golferpacific on March 26, 2009

OK, so what constitutes slow play in golf these days and where do we draw the line?

Admittedly, the problem isn’t nearly as bad as it is made out to be in competition golf.

But for those having a social bash, like I did at the weekend, this problem is becoming increasingly worse and course marshalls need to do their job.

Groups of four or more, slow walkers, intoxicated hoons, people scoring cards on the greens – not the next tees – and those who feel the need for a few practice putts after they have already holed out…aarrrhhh! It does my head in.

Like most of you, I have had some bad experiences playing socially.

But on the weekend I encountered by far the worst of these.

I got stuck behind a group of nine….YES…. NINE!

This extended family of friends felt the need to all pair up in a nonet (that’s a group of nine by the way).

Throw in six motorised carts, 123 air swings and a dash of no idea and you have the recipe for possibly the most ridiculous tee grouping of the year.

I sat with my playing partner on the tee for nearly 20 minutes while this group of morons tried to locate their balls, strolling ever so casually across the fairways, back-and-forth to grab clubs.

Truth is – they could have used toothpicks – it wouldn’t have mattered.

One bloke had five air swings then backed that up with a shank onto the next fairway.

The result?

A few laughs and an extended conversation about how he accomplished such a feat, without moving in a forward direction.

Throughout this marathon these pillocks were constantly looking back to see us and a growing trail of golfers banked up behind…but no….no need to panic or even wave to let us play through.

Instead, they were more than happy to continue their motorcade to the 19th.  

After seven unsuccessful phone calls to the clubhouse at 4.30pm to try and get an official to get off his high horse and push these guys along, we surrendered and tried another tee.

It appeared it was an early knock-off day for the pro shop, but not for me and my playing partner.

As it was, we walked off the course in pitch black darkness after completing just 13 holes.

I’m willing to give the club the benefit of the doubt – they simply wouldn’t have been stupid enought to allow a group of nine tee-off together.

But they should have monitored the situation to ensure they didn’t slow down what was a busy afternoon of bookings.

As for the green fees I paid…thanks for nothing.

I won’t be back for a while.

  • What’s the worst case of slow play you have experienced?

Is the US Course Rating System a winner?

Posted in Australian Golf by golferpacific on March 25, 2009

THE smiles will be seen at golf clubs all over the country this month.

That’s because Golf Australia has ended one of the most controversial topics in club golf by agreeing to adopt the United States Golf Association Course Rating System.

Now this is not to be confused with the topical US Slope Handicap System, but it looks like we’re halfway to resolving that too.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a topic that has generated so much response than course ratings and handicapping.

The landmark decision to change our course rating procedures last month follows a lengthy period of review and will see the existing Australian Women’s Course Rating System and Australian Men’s Course Rating System put on the scrapheap where, the general consensus suggests, they rightfully belong.

Whether or not the old system was fair and accurate is now irrelevant because Golfer Pacific readers will be over the moon by this latest development, based on the letters I receive slamming the old systems.

“We’ve spent the past three years on a process which has involved inviting feedback and then listening to what everyone has to say,” Golf Australia’s Anne Lenagan said.

“This outcome is a genuine good-news story for the industry, and takes us further down the path of removing unnecessary inconsistencies between women’s and men’s handicapping in Australia.”

I think ‘inconsistencies’ is the key word here and I applaud the sport’s governing body for taking action and allowing us to link up with the rest of the world’s golfing population.

I would think Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt shares a similar view and he said Australian golfers could now look forward to the many benefits of the new system.

“The USGA Course Rating System is considered world’s best practice and is the result of significant financial and scientific investment,” he said.

“It is exciting that all Australian clubs and handicap players will now be exposed to the benefits experienced by most golfers around the world.”

So, what exactly can Golfer Pacific readers expect out of the popular US system?

“Fundamentally, this will see the ‘actual measured length’ of a course being replaced by ‘effective playing length’, and that’s important because the course rating will now reflect what it is that the golfer encounters,” Golf Australia Handicapping and Course Rating Committee chairman Ian Read said.

“This means giving greater consideration to the factors we all know make such a difference.

“And I’m talking about the obvious things such as roll, elevation, prevailing wind, altitude, and forced lay-ups caused by dog-legs and dams or streams, etc.

“It really is a major step forward.”

A step forward all right – we will now have a course rated with logic, taking into account everything that makes it unique and difficult, not just its distance or lack of.

Clubs will use the new scratch ratings immediately when their course has been re-rated, with the implementation timetable being as follows:

• Approximately 120 personnel to be trained throughout

Australia between June and October 2009.

This will include the USGA conducting seminars in Australia in June.

• September 2009, begin rating courses with an initial concentration on new and changed courses.

• By the end of 2011 it is expected that all courses will have been completed, with most metropolitan courses to be finished by the end of 2010.

Golf Australia will determine the future direction of the Australian handicapping system (and CCR) following a state forum to be held at the end of the month, where it is anticipated they may choose to adopt the most talked about topic in club golf – the

US Slope System.

What are your thoughts on these changes?

Do you think it will benefit club golf in Australia?


The Ultimate Golfing Hazard – Carbrook Golf Club Australia

Posted in Australian Golf by golferpacific on March 19, 2009
Tags: ,

editors_blog2This takes the cake for ‘extreme’ sports….only in the toughest environment in the world; Australia

Aussies have what it takes to break the US Masters Drought – or do they?

Tell me what you think

Tell me what you think

Is Adam Scott the one to home the US Masters trophy

Is Adam Scott the one to bring home the US Masters trophy

Ogilvy, Appleby, Allenby, Scott or maybe that bloke called Norman?

Is 2009 the year Australia finally breaks its US Masters drought? Or will our best golfers again come up short of wearing that prized green jacket?

Tell us who you think will win and why?